Big Bad Wolf / Focus Entertainment (studio)
24 September 2018 (released)
30 September 2018
So we’re coming nearer and nearer to the curtain call of this fine mystery. The Council has brought gamers a compelling narrative that dives into a unnerving and complex gathering of history’s most iconic political figures. Aside from the bitter attitudes between the 18th century’s most powerhouse figures, there are also much darker and surreal events occurring. Big Bad Wolf had done a stellar job up to this point but now it seems as though the series in failing to live up to the high expectations we saw at the beginning.
The Council dives deeper into the mystery as Louis finds his beloved mother but also uncovers a sinister truth behind his very existence. I won’t go into spoiler territory here as it quite a big plot twist, but I will say that the way it’s handled is rather poor. For such a dramatic event to occur in the game and for a character to learn something so damming, there could’ve been more tension or drama. The reveal is massively underplayed and feels like it’s no big deal whatsoever. This could be linked to the poor animation of the characters, the underwhelming voice acting and just the lack of gravitas in the scene.
It’s a shame as while the character animations can be rather stilted and distracting; the voice acting is usually rather good. Here, it feels as though the actors are on auto-pilot for the majority of this episode.
It doesn’t help matters when this episode also features a number of other issues as well, including a short length and a repeat of certain events we’ve seen before. While the confrontations are still interesting, they do feel a little tacked on. These events would reveal big secrets, major events or devastating choices to make. Now they pop up like clockwork just to fill in the gaps between the massive amounts of tedious exploration.
We do get a new area underneath the manor, which hosts a simple yet challenging enough puzzle/set piece, but otherwise we’re stuck with running around the manor over and over, finding small clues or fragments of a puzzle needed to progress. I also dislike how there’s no re-spawns of supplies or even random items to find … except for these blasted coins which serve no purpose other than being a rather dull collectable.
I did enjoy a certain new ability that comes in half way through this episode and it does change the tone of the game significantly. Again, I won’t go too deep into spoilers but it’s a dynamic feature that allows players to get into the heads of the other guests on the island. It’s utterly compelling and if played right, could end this series on a massive high note.
It’s a shame that Episode 4 of The Council feels so underwhelming and more a lacklustre bridge between the 3rd and final act. There are some neat twists in the story but they’re handled rather poorly and the lack of new areas or major events just makes this episode feel a pointless. There is an intense build up to what could be an epic ending for The Council and I hope Big Bad Wolf pull it together in order to finish an ambitious project.
++ Interesting gameplay dynamic added
-- Lacks gravitas in certain plot twists
- Repetitive exploration
- Shortest episode
An Xbox One review copy of The Council: Episode 4 - Burning Bridges was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review